Abate wins call-up to Italy squad

Ignazio Abate's marauding performances for AC Milan were rewarded on Sunday after the right-back was called up for the first time to Italy's squad for friendly matches against Poland and Uruguay.

Coach Cesare Prandelli's 24-man squad also saw recalls for Juventus attacking pair Alessandro Matri and Simone Pepe who replace long-term absentees Antonio Cassano and Giuseppe Rossi.

Defender Angelo Ogbonna of Serie B side Torino was another surprise inclusion, but there was no place for the fit-again Alberto Gilardino of Fiorentina or Udinese veteran Antonio Di Natale, who is once again leading the Serie A scoring charts after notching his eighth strike of the season against Siena.

Mario Balotelli, Giampaolo Pazzini, Thiago Motta and Domenico Criscito all return after missing Italy's last games against Serbia and Northern Ireland because of injury.

The Azzurri, who qualified for Euro 2012 with eight wins from 10 matches, play in Poland on Friday before taking on Uruguay at the Stadio Olimpico the following Tuesday.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Morgan De Sanctis (Napoli), Salvatore Sirigu (Paris Saint-Germain)

Defenders: Ignazio Abate (AC Milan), Federico Balzaretti (Palermo), Andrea Barzagli (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Domenico Criscito (Zenit Saint Petersburg), Christian Maggio (Napoli), Angelo Ogbonna (Torino), Andrea Ranocchia (Inter)

Midfielders: Alberto Aquilani (AC Milan), Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Claudio Marchisio (Juventus), Riccardo Montolivo (Fiorentina), Thiago Motta (Inter), Antonio Nocerino (AC Milan), Andrea Pirlo (Juventus)

Forwards: Mario Balotelli (Manchester City), Sebastian Giovinco (Parma), Alessandro Matri (Juventus), Pablo Osvaldo (Roma), Giampaolo Pazzini (Inter), Simone Pepe (Juventus)


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